Senior managers may wish to Do No Harm ( see previous blog) but in this austere financial climate many simply have to pursue the least worst option.
In project management there are three elements that must be balanced quality, time and money. Each element pulls in a different direction so it's impossible to treat all three as a priority so two are pursued at the expense of the third.
When the U.S. Government decided to demonstration capitalism's superiority over communism by putting a man on the moon, it was crucial that they were first and that the astronaut was returned safely, so the budget was open ended. Margaret Thatcher was wrong and President Kennedy was right throwing money at a problem does help solve it.
How is a chief executive to ensure a safe/ quality service, meet budget targets and do it with in over ambitious government time scales? In the NHS when they focused on transformation there were problems with budget over spends, when they focused on the budget there were scandals about the quality of care. Now we have government frustration at the pace of change, hospital trust reporting that they are on the verge of bankruptcy and the Care Quality Commission stating 75 percent of hospital trust are not providing adequate services.
We are living through a period where politicians and chief executives believe their own propaganda and try and convince staff,service users and the public that it is possible to make radical changes quickly and safely without a lot of additional money.
Any chief executive trying to " do no harm" will put safety ahead of budget management and service transformation. Trouble is you don't get to be a chief executive by not changing things and you don't get to stay a chief executive by overspending your budget!
Blair Mcpherson author and commentator on the public sector Blair McPherson - Home